Cloud ITechnology Interviews

ITechnology Interview with Alexandre Bilger, CEO at Sinequa

ITechnology Interview with Alexandre Bilger, CEO at Sinequa

“Bringing intelligent search capabilities to the cloud is important to our customers as it allows them to reap the benefits of knowledge discovery within the cloud ecosystem.

Hi Alexandre, please tell us about your journey in technology. What inspired you to start at Sinequa?

“I started my career as a lead software architect at Nat Systems, a client-server and multi-platform development tools provider. In 1999, I co-founded eFront, a data-processing software vendor for the financial industry, where I was also Chief Technology Officer. After six years at eFront, I joined Sinequa, inspired to help transform enterprises’ ability to harness Big Data.

“As the President and CEO of Sinequa for over 10 years, I have seen the company evolve and expand to deal with the increasing volumes of data that organisations now produce. As the quantity of data has grown, so have our technological capabilities and our scope to cater to different use cases. As Sinequa continues to grow, I am excited to see continued progress in the value it can bring to customers.”

What is Sinequa and how does it add value to the modern Enterprise Data Science software industry? 

“Sinequa offers enterprises the service that tech giants such as Google offer to the consumer: powerful and intelligent search. Intelligent search is central to modern enterprise data science. Sinequa’s platform makes enterprise data searchable so businesses can tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise contained within their existing content. Insights from these data sources drive innovation, efficiency, and productivity for businesses, ultimately helping them to grow and stay agile.”

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What is the most contemporary definition of Enterprise Search Platform (ESP)? How does an ESP fit into the modern digital transformation journeys across industries?

“Enterprise search, also referred to as intelligent search or cognitive search, is the practice of making enterprise content and data searchable for a defined audience. Enterprise search is central to the digital transformation journey for businesses as extracting insights from existing data sources drives better decision-making, leading to greater operational efficiencies. In practice, these efficiency savings can lead to multiple benefits depending on the individual use case. Some examples include speeding up drug discovery and delivery and answering customer queries more rapidly.”

Which technologies and capabilities should a CIO look out for when choosing an ESP for their operations? 

“The best enterprise search tools harness the latest technologies to deliver the most relevant results for users. Sinequa combines deep natural language processing (NLP), rich semantic analysis, advanced entity extraction, and machine learning technology to achieve this. These technological capabilities enable the conversion of unstructured content into a clean and enriched searchable index, so users can retrieve relevant information from a wide range of sources. Machine learning ensures that results continue to improve according to the user’s needs.

“When choosing an ESP for your organisation, it’s important to choose a service that best suits your use-case. Sinequa, for example, specialises in high-value use cases across industries such as health and life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, and intelligence services.”

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Could you tell us more about the importance of accessing unstructured data as well as structured data? What are the efficiency gains and insights that arise from faster access to relevant information?

“Unstructured data is any information that doesn’t fit neatly into a database. It includes content within PDF documents, emails, and social media and the data can be in the form of text, numbers, video, sound, or images. This type of content represents 80% of all enterprise data, yet many organisations continue to focus only on their structured data, missing out on the wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be harvested from unstructured data.

“Intelligent search makes unstructured data searchable, enabling enterprises to draw insights from it in the same way as structured data. With faster access to both unstructured and structured data, workers spend less time trawling through various content sources across multiple platforms trying to find information. Instead, they use one interface to search across all enterprise data, saving time and increasing productivity. Valuable information is less likely to become buried and difficult to find, and more relevant search results mean workers have all the available information they need to carry out their jobs effectively.”

At Sinequa, how do Search and Enterprise Cloud Architecture sync? Could you tell us some of the benefits of delivering Search capabilities on Cloud for your customers?

“Sinequa supports on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments and supports hosting on the leading cloud platforms. Sinequa recently partnered with Microsoft to run on Azure and, in July, announced the addition of Sinequa for Microsoft Teams. Bringing intelligent search capabilities to the cloud is important to our customers as it allows them to reap the benefits of knowledge discovery within the cloud ecosystem.

“With recent integrations, such as Sinequa for Microsoft Azure, search capabilities are optimised for the cloud so customers can access a streamlined service tailored to the cloud environment. Sinequa for Azure’s benefits include reduced architecture costs, leveraging of Azure’s elasticity, faster indexing, increased security, and quicker and easier deployment as Sinequa for Azure is pre-configured to Azure specifications.”

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IT support and customization of services are key to the adoption of any new technology. What kind of IT support do you offer to customers to ensure better customer experience and security on your platforms?

“It’s vital that users of the Sinequa platform have the right support to help them make the most out of the powerful tool. One initiative we run to support customers, employees, and partners is the Sinequa University programme. Sinequa University offers levels of certification that improve users’ comprehension of topics such as setting up connectors, indexing, search, advanced security controls, leveraging natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and how to design the search infrastructure. Training across these areas ensures customers, partners, and Sinequa’s own specialists can make optimal use of Sinequa’s capabilities.”

Tell us about the real-world implications of such efficiency gains in industries such as the life sciences.

“Organisations within the health and life sciences industry have been collecting and harnessing data for decades as part of the natural process of scientific research. Data guides researchers through processes such as drug development, determining a drug’s suitability for the market, and monitoring its ongoing success. Data is the fuel that powers clinical research, but the vast and increasing quantity of such content poses challenges to researchers. Finding relevant information rapidly streamlines vital processes, leading to efficiency gains that, for example, enable life-saving drugs to be delivered to market faster.

“In April 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world and researchers scrambled to understand the virus in order to hasten the production of a vaccine, Sinequa created the Covid-19 Intelligent Insight Portal, a free and open research tool providing access to the world’s largest repository of scientific information specific to Covid-19. In making the latest data relating to the virus accessible through one portal, Sinequa made overwhelming quantities of information easier to access and analyse. Through collating these sources of information, from research papers to data from clinical trials, intelligent search tools can provide huge value to the life sciences industry.”

Expert tip on how to grow an AI-focused Search company:

“Growing a company successfully requires having the right people on board who can draw on their expertise in the industry and their experience scaling other organisations to propel your business forward. This has been a key factor in Sinequa’s continued and accelerating growth.

“The North America region is our key focus for growth moving forwards, and we’ve hired several strong executives – including Bob Lewis as Senior Vice President of North America Operations – this year to help us implement that growth strategy.”

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Thank you, Alexandre! That was fun and we hope to see you back on itechnologyseries.com soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

With over eighteen years of experience as a top executive within enterprise software, Alexandre has a proven ability to build and lead high performing organizations. In addition to being a thought leader, he is passionate about cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing and NLP. Prior being appointed CEO of Sinequa, Alexandre co-founded and was Chief Technology Officer of E-Front, a data-processing software vendor specializing in the Financial industries. He started his career as a lead architect at NAT System, a leading client server development tools vendor.

He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole des Mines. Alexandre is a champagne and travel enthusiast with a genuine passion for Japan.

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Sinequa serves both large and complex organizations with the most complete enterprise search, ever. Customers employ our intelligent search platform to connect all content (both text and data), derive meaning, learn from user interactions, and present information in context. This solves content chaos and informs employees through a single, secure interface. They get the knowledge, expertise, and insights needed to make informed decisions and do more, faster. These organizations accelerate innovation, reduce rework, foster collaboration, ensure compliance, and increase productivity. Become Information-Driven™ with Sinequa.

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